March Madness Proverbs Day 16

March 16, 2007

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Read Proverbs chapter 16 and then come back here for the commentary!

From the Life Application Bible:

Verse 1: This verse can be understood to mean that the final outcome of plans we make is in God’s hands. If this is so, why make plans? In doing God’s will, there must be partnership between our efforts and God’s control. He wants us to use our minds, to seek the advice of others, and to plan. Nevertheless, the results are up to him. Planning, then, helps us act God’s way. As you live for him, ask for guidance as you plan, and then act on your plan as you trust in him.

Verse 2: People can rationalize anything if they have no standards for judging right and wrong. We can always prove that we are right. Before putting any plan into action, ask yourself these three questions: (1) Is this plan in harmony with God’s truth? (2) Will it work under real-life conditions? (3) Is my attitude pleasing to God?

Verse 3: There are different ways to fail to commit whatever we do to the Lord. Some people commit their work only superficially. They say the project is being done for the Lord, but in reality they are doing it for themselves. Others give God temporary control of their interests, only to take control back the moment things stop going the way they expect. Still others commit a task fully to the Lord but put forth no effort themselves, and then they wonder why they do not succeed. We must maintain a delicate balance: trusting God as if everything depended on him, while working as if everything depended on us. Think of a specific effort in which you are involved right now. Have you committed it to the Lord?

Verse 4: This verse doesn’t mean that God created some people to be wicked, but rather that God uses even the activities of wicked people for his good purposes (see Genesis 50:20). God is infinite, and we are finite. No matter how great our intellects, we will never be able to understand him completely. But we can accept by faith that he is all-powerful, all-loving, and perfectly good. We can believe that he is not the cause of evil (James 1:13, 17); and we can trust that there are no loose ends in his system of judgment. Evil is a temporary condition in the universe. One day God will destroy it.

Verse 5: Pride is the inner voice that whispers, “My way is best.” It is resisting God’s leadership and believing that you are able to live without his help. Whenever you find yourself wanting to do it your way or looking down on other people, you are being controlled by pride. Only when you eliminate pride can God help you become all he meant you to be.

Verse 7: We want other people to like us, and sometimes we will do almost anything to win their approval. But God tells us to put our energy into pleasing him instead. Our effort to be peacemakers will usually make us more attractive to those around us, even our enemies. But even if it doesn’t, we haven’t lost anything. We are still pleasing God, the only one who truly matters.

Verse 11: Whether we buy or sell, make a product or offer a service, we know what is fair and honest and what is unfair and dishonest. Sometimes we feel pressure to be dishonest in order to advance ourselves or gain more profit. But if we want to obey God, there is no middle ground: God demands honesty in every business transaction. No amount of rationalizing can justify a dishonest business practice. Honesty and fairness are not always easy, but they are what God demands. Ask him for discernment and courage to be consistently honest and fair.

Verse 18: Proud people take little account of their weaknesses and do not anticipate stumbling blocks. They think they are above the frailties of common people. In this state of mind they are easily tripped up. Ironically, proud people seldom realize that pride is their problem, although everyone around them is well aware of it. Ask someone you trust whether self-satisfaction has blinded you to warning signs. He or she may help you avoid a fall.

Verse 22: For centuries people sought a fountain of youth, a spring that promised to give eternal life and vitality. It was never found. But God’s wisdom is a life-giving fountain that can make a person happy, healthy, and alive forever. How? When we live by God’s Word, he washes away the deadly effect of sin (see Titus 3:4-8), and the hope of eternal life with him gives us a joyful perspective on our present life. The fountain of youth was only a dream, but the life-giving fountain is reality. The choice is yours. You can be enlightened by God’s wisdom, or you can be dragged down by the weight of your own foolishness.

Verse 31: The Hebrews believed that a long life was a sign of God’s blessing; therefore, gray hair and old age were good. While young people glory in their strength, old people can rejoice in their years of experience and practical wisdom. Gray hair is not a sign of disgrace to be covered over; it is a crown of splendor. As you deal with older people, treat them with respect.

Verse 32: Self-control is superior to conquest. Success in business, school, or home life can be ruined by a person who loses control of his or her temper. So it is a great personal victory to control your temper. When you feel yourself ready to explode, remember that losing control may cause you to forfeit what you want the most.

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